1 Nephi 17

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi & his family

Important events & details:

  • Nephi and his family are blessed and nourished with an abundance of food in the wilderness, because of their faith and obedience to the Lord. Nephi tells us that they have been in the wilderness for eight years.
  • The Lord commands Nephi to build a ship, and his brothers mock him, but he is diligent in following the commandments of the Lord to build a ship. Nephi likens the scriptures to his situation, and reminds his brothers about Moses and his exodus into the wilderness with his people. He reminds his brothers how God led the people of Moses, and how, when they hardened their hearts the Lord sent serpents to bite the people; but “after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed” and continued to lead them through the wilderness.

Favorite verses:

3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they an accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.

13 And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

35 Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God…

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • I love that Nephi’s first reaction to the Lord telling him to build a ship isn’t “how am I supposed to build a ship? I don’t know how to build ships”, but rather is “where do I go to get materials to make the tools?” I want to have faith as great as Nephi, faith great enough to help me say “show me how” when the Lord leads me to do things that test me or scare me.
  • I also love that Nephi uses scripture to liken their experiences with those of Moses’ people, and teach his brothers the importance of having faith in the Lord throughout their journey

Questions:

  • What can I be doing in my daily life to strengthen my faith, in order to help me more quickly follow the guidance of the spirit?

 

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1 Nephi 16

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi, his family, and Ishmael’s family

Important events & details:

  • Nephi and his brothers marry the daughters of Ishmael; Ishmael passes away, and his family begins to murmur because of their hardships in the wilderness.
  • Lehi finds the Liahona (“a ball of curious workmanship”) outside his tent one morning. The Liahona directs them through the wilderness, leading them toward “more fertile parts” and towards the promised land. The Liahona also displays messages from the Lord from time to time. Nephi tells us that the Liahona only works according to their faith.
  • Nephi breaks his bow and is unable to obtain food for his family, and his brothers complain; he makes a new bow and arrow from wood and sticks, and he prays to the Lord to help him find food.

Favorite verses:

28 … I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.

29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • The guidance of the pointers in the Liahona and the messages that are written for Nephi and his family remind me of the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and my patriarchal blessing. These are all things that I have free access to, at any point in my life, but that can only guide me when I have faith and humble myself. Even though the scriptures and my patriarchal blessing never change – sometimes, at different times in my life – new things become important to me, or I gain new and different understanding from the things I have previously read.
  • I love that when Nephi broke his bow, the first thing he did was go out and make himself a new one, rather than complaining or moping. Once he did all he could on his own he turned to Heavenly Father, to gain inspiration and guidance in solving the rest of the problem.
  • “Your patriarchal blessing is yours and yours alone. It may be brief or lengthy, simple or profound. Length and language do not a patriarchal blessing make. It is the Spirit that conveys the true meaning. Your blessing is not to be folded neatly and tucked away. It is not to be framed or published. Rather, it is to be read. It is to be loved. It is to be followed. Your patriarchal blessing will see you through the darkest night. It will guide you through life’s dangers.” – Thomas S. Monson

Questions:

  • Do I give as much heed and importance to scripture study and my patriarchal blessing as I should? Do I allow them to guide me in all things?
  • When faced with a problem, do I do everything I possibly can, before turning to the Lord?

1 Nephi 13

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi

Important events & details:

  • Nephi sees a vision about the discovery and colonizing of America; the church of the devil, and loss of many “plain and precious” parts of the Bible, and resulting apostasy; the restoration of the gospel and building up of Zion.
  • Nephi sees in his vision that when the people are listening to God they prosper, and He delivers them from their enemies.

Favorite verses:

16-20 …[they] did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them. …[they] were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. …they did prosper in the land…

28-29 … there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. {speaking of the bible} …because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure to the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.

40 …These last records {speaking of the Book of Mormon}…shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • I love how this chapter outlines the way the Bible and Book of Mormon go hand in hand. They are both witnesses of Jesus Christ, but the Book of Mormon has the full truth and restores  what was lost from the Bible.
  • I also love the way Nephi sees in a vision that the gospel will be taken all over the earth, in so many languages, and I’ve been able to witness that firsthand in my life.

Questions:

  • Am I humbling myself before the Lord, and making myself familiar with His word, so that I can have His power and protection against Satan?
  • Do I continually seek the influence of the Holy Ghost to lead me closer to my Father in Heaven and His Son?

1 Nephi 11

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi

Important events & details:

  • Nephi desires to see and know the things his father prophesied about in chapter 10 (concerning the coming of Christ to the earth) so he ponders them and is caught up in the Spirit. The Spirit asks Nephi what he wants to know and if he believes the words of his father and Nephi says, “Yea, thou knowest I believe all the words of my father” (1 Nephi 11:5).
  • The Spirit then shows Nephi the same things that were shown to Lehi. Nephi see the virgin Mary and Christ’s birth. He also sees the iron rod again, and sees that it is the word of God; the tree of life, and that it is the love of God. He also sees Christ be baptized, and the Holy Ghost come down in the form of a dove. He sees the twelve apostles and Christ healing the sick and afflicted. Then Nephi sees Christ crucified. After Christ’s death Nephi sees the great and spacious building, that is the pride of the world, and it’s fall.

Favorite verses:

6 … And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.

17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

22 … it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. [speaking of the tree]

33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • Steps to personal revelation:
    • Desire
    • Belief
    • Study & ponder
    • Be ready for what the Lord has to say, and receive it with an open heart
  • God knows us individually, He knows our hopes & desires, He knows our names. He knows my name.
  • It’s ok that we don’t have all the answers, sometimes it’s enough just to know that God love us and we can trust Him. His plan will always be enough and He will never leave us.
  • God’s love is there whether we follow His word or not, His love is eternal. However, we are only about the fully feel His love and really partake of it when we are following His word. His love is the most desirable thing because it is through His love that we are made clean, and through His love that we can do all things.

Questions:

  • Am I living my life in a way that I can fully partake in God’s love for me? Is knowing Christ and my Heavenly Father my greatest desire?

1 Nephi 9

Location: the wilderness

People: Nephi

Important events & details:

  • Nephi tells us that the Lord has commanded him to write two sets of plates. He says in this set he writes more of the ministry, and on the other he writes more about the reign of the kings, the wars, and the contentions of his people.

Favorite verses:

3 … I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people.

5 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.

6 But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning, wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words…

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • Nephi again shows faith to follow the Lord, even when he doesn’t fully understand the reason behind His commandments. He reminds us that God fulfills all his words, and that He will always provide a way for us to accomplish His commandments.
  • Reading Nephi’s account – of how he didn’t know why he was making a second set of plates, but that he knew it was for a wise purpose – strengthens my testimony of God’s plan for us, His greater knowledge of the “whole picture”, and His love for us. Heavenly Father knew that hundreds of years later Joseph Smith would lose part of the record, and that there needed to be another copy so that I, me personally, could have these scriptures.

Questions:

  • Do I have enough faith and trust in God to follow all His commandments, even if I don’t fully understand them yet?

1 Nephi 7

Location: the wilderness & Jerusalem

People: Nephi & his family, and Ishmael & his family

Important events & details:

  • Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem to get Ishmael and his family in order to be able to marry and have children in the wilderness.
  • While journeying Laman, Lemuel, two daughters of Ishmael, and two sons of Ishmael rebel against the others because they want to return to Jerusalem. When Nephi rebukes them they tie him up and “seek to take away [his] life”.
  • Nephi prayed to Heavenly Father and his bands were loosened, some of Ishmael’s family were able to convince the others of their wrongdoing, and Nephi forgave them.

Favorite verses:

12 Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.

21 And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done…

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • No matter how many times Nephi’s brothers rebel against him, he continually remains faithful to the Lord and reminds them to be faithful too.
  • Even after they seek to take away his life, Nephi has enough love and faith in his heart the he immediately forgives his brothers.

Questions:

  • Do I have enough charity in my heart to immediately forgive those who do wrong against me?

1 Nephi 4

Location: Jerusalem

People: Zoram (servant of Laban)

Important events and details:

  • Nephi returns into the city to try a third time to get the brass plates. He finds Laban drunk and passed out on the ground. The spirit tells Nephi to kill Laban, but Nephi struggles with this prompting. After the spirit tells Nephi that it is better for one man to die than a whole nation to dwindle in unbelief Nephi kills Laban with his own sword and dresses in his clothes.
  • Nephi returns to Laban’s house dressed up like him and has Zoram, the servant get the plates and carry them outside the city walls where his “elder brethren” are waiting. Zoram thinks Nephi is talking about the elders of the Jews and follows Nephi.
  • When Nephi’s brothers see him they are afraid, thinking he is Laban and has killed Nephi. Nephi calls to them, and then stops Zoram, who now realizing he is not Laban is scared and trying to run away.
  • Nephi promises Zoram that if he follows them into the wilderness he will be a free man, so Zoram makes an oath and follows them out of Jerusalem.

Favorite verses:

1 …let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban…

6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.

34 … Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord?

Thoughts/Reflections:

  • Nephi was diligent and faithful always, knowing that he might have to try multiple times, and it would be hard, but that the Lord would provide a way for him to follow His commandments.
  • Even a prophet like Nephi will questions promptings, but ultimately he follows and obeys every time.
  • The Lord often expects us to try and work things out our own way before He provides us with or shows us a way to do things. But when we rely on Him, He will always help us and lead us to do the right thing.

Questions:

  • How many times am I willing to try to follow a commandment from the Lord, even if it is hard or I am not able to get it right the first time.